World Refrigeration Day 2020, by Mr. Ravichandran Purushothaman

29 June 2020

Today, the business of refrigeration and HVAC makes a significant contribution to the comfort, safety, and health of the citizens around the world. There is a wider consensus on cooling as a developmental need as it is linked with achieving several Sustainable Development Goals as defined by the UN.

While the Indian cold-chain sector represents a small portion of the aggregated cooling demand, it is poised for strong growth, with significant implications for improving food security and doubling farmer incomes. In India, refrigeration has the potential to be a strong partner industry in addressing the nutritional deficits across all strata of society and creating a roadmap to achieve global sustainability targets.

A strong cold chain network supported by a robust refrigeration platform can be transformational for the agriculture sector by limiting food loss and thereby saving livelihoods of the farming community. Mitigating food losses also enables the efficient delivery of high-quality food and produce across the population, thereby bridging the persistent nutrition gap in India. Similarly, the contributions of a well-developed cold chain network to the pharmaceutical industry are manifold, especially in the current scenario – where the importance of the refrigeration industry is further highlighted.

The growth of any industry, especially those that are linked with essential services such as food, agriculture and pharmaceuticals, cannot be delinked from a regulatory and policy environment. The government’s vision of doubling farmers’ incomes, and the recent agri-infrastructure fund allotment towards bettering the farm-gate infrastructure, with a good stimulus package to expand the dairy and fisheries capacities are all policy level interventions that bode well for the future of the cold-chain industry. The efficient implementation of this can significantly increase the agriculture sector’s contribution to India’s GDP.

Earth-friendly refrigerants, increased efficiency and reliability of refrigeration systems and equipment through the length and breadth of the cold chain network must continue to be a priority among the technical community. Energy-efficient systems will benefit the world by reducing the amount of CO2 produced, which reduces the potential for climate change and the amount of energy consumed – thereby positively impacting both the environmental and economic costs associated with the refrigeration industry.

'This interview appeared on The Dairy'